TV Review: This Is Us Season 1 (Spoilers)

I am not really big on family dramas, so when  I first heard about this show, I wasn’t interested at all until I heard that it was quickly becoming a critical darling, and that it delivered plot twists and all the feels. So, I decided to give it a try, and was immediately drawn in by the Pearson family, and the way that this show is being handled. Of course, when it comes to the king of giving its audience all of the feels, Korean dramas still win, as those are the ones that are capable of making me cry buckets of tears as if it came from my gut, but this show can definitely, at times, give it a run for its money.

“This Is Us”, created by Dan Fogelman, follows the saga of the Pearson family, told in a non-linear fashion as the episodes seamlessly intertwine flashbacks from the past, and what is happening to them in present day. Combined with a stellar cast, and writers who have a knack for manipulating their audience’s emotions, “This Is Us” is not just a critical darling, but is a fresh dose of reality that everyone can relate to in one way or another.

The show stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, Jon Huertas and Ron Cephas Jones.

In a nutshell, you should watch this drama if you love, not just realistic portrayals of characters, but of realistic portrayals of all kinds of relationships, from marriage, all the way to the bond and dynamic that siblings have with each other. Also, this series boasts wonderful performances from everyone from the adult cast members, to the younger cast members, and I am very, very sure, that this show will be nominated for several awards come Emmy season time. (“Memphis” anyone?)

From here on out, there will be spoilers, you know the drill.

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As I said earlier, this show is awfully good at manipulating the emotions of their viewers, but not as much as Korean dramas do. However,  I must say that I have cried in almost every episode that I have seen. They are also good at pulling of great plot twists, and this, of course, was evident  from the very first episode of the series. (That huge plot twist will really be on everyone’s minds for a very long time.)

Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia are perfect at portraying Rebecca and Jack Pearson, and they honestly do have this whole thing of portraying a realistic marriage down pat. Aside from that, the two give great performances consistently throughout the entire show, and Ventimiglia truly has given birth to one of the greatest, but not perfect, television dads ever to grace the small screen.

Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, and Sterling K. Brown are all amazing as Kevin, Kate and Randall Pearson, and they all deliver solid performances all throughout. We can feel Kevin’s insecurities, Kate’s insecurity about herself and her weight, and the pressure that Randall puts upon himself to try to be every inch the perfect man. However, among the three, Brown gives the best performances among the siblings, followed by Hartley.

Ron Cephas Jones is wonderful to watch in this show as William, Randall’s biological father who ends up living with Randall and his family before ultimately succumbing to his stomach cancer. Every minute he was on screen was amazing,  and I am so glad that he shone while his character was still alive on series. I’ve only seen him in “Mr. Robot”, so I enjoyed seeing him play a different kind of character. His swan song episode, “Memphis”, was just beautiful and artsy, and I honestly hope that episode gets an Emmy nomination, and he gets a nomination for his performance in that episode. (Alo

Another one I truly enjoyed was Susan Kelechi Watson, who portrayed Randall’s wife, Beth. I love how emotionally strong she is, and how she is the perfect partner to Randall. I loved all the scenes that we had with her.

In this season, we mostly saw the grade school versions of Kate, Kevin and Randall, and a little bit of their teenage selves. Whoever cast them did such as good job as not only do they resemble the adult versions of their characters, but they portrayed them well too.

I am happy that Jon Huertas is doing something after “Castle” finished, but I’m still not yet truly sold or on Miguel’s side yet, as we, the audience, are still too much in love with Jack to allow Rebecca to be married to him after Jack passed away.

I guess my only nitpicks for this show is that I hope that they don’t drag out the whole how Jack died mystery too much, because at a certain point, that’s going to get old; and I want them to give Kate more to work with aside from her weight issues, so I’m glad that she’s going to try to give a singing career a go. Also, even though the season finale ended with a note of hope, I would have been totally fine if they ended the first season with the second to the last episode of the season, as it did feel more like a finale than the first season finale.

In the end, I do recommend this television show as it gives a fresh dose of reality in an era of peak tv. If you are looking for a show that will give you all the feels,  and that has good and solid performances and storytelling all throughout, this show is definitely for you.

Favorite Moment/s: 

  • The reveal at the end of the pilot. The mother of all reveals in this show.
  • Kevin’s outburst when he quit the “Manny”.
  • Everything in episode 16.
  • The reveal that Miguel and Rebecca are now together.
  • Jack sleeping outside the master bedroom.
  • Everything in Episode 13.
  • The reveal that Kevin’s first love and ex-wife was Sophie, Kate’s childhood best friend.
  • Kevin running out of his play and comforting Randall.
  • Kevin and Randall fighting each other on the streets on NYC.
  • Beth. EVERYTHING about Beth.
  • Randall trying to explain to everyone what has job was, and how he walked out and quit after the “fun-eral”.
  • Kevin running out of the play to comfort Randall.
  • Kevin showing up at his ex-wife’s, Sophie’s, doorstep.
  • That moment in “fat camp” when Kate let out a primal scream during one of the exercises, remembering Jack’s funeral.
  • Everything in the three birthdays episode and the pool episode.

Favorite Episode/s:

  • Episodes 1,4,8,13,16,17
Favorite Quote/s: 

“Beth: Well, I guess I’ll cancel the caterer, and the flowers and the white doves.

Randall: You got white doves?
Beth: They don’t make black ones, Randall.”- Beth to Randall
“William: Roll all the windows down, Randall, crank up the music, grow out that from. Let someone else make your bed.

Randall: I like makin’ my damn bed, old man.

William: Then you make it. You deserve it. You deserve the beautiful life you made.   You deserve everything, Randall. My beautiful boy. My son. I haven’t had a happy life. Bad breaks. Bad choices. A life of almosts and could haves. Some would call it sad, but I don’t. ‘Cause the two best things in my life were the person in the very beginning and the person at the very end, and that’s pretty good thing to be able to say, I think.” – William to Randall

“You walking into my fourth grade class, Sophie, that’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire life. Actually, that’s not true, scratch that, that’s the second best thing that has ever happened to me. The best thing that ever happened to me was you telling me that you’d marry me. I’m still in love with you, and I will be at our restaurant bright and early tomorrow waiting for you. “- Kevin to Sophie

“Toby: I would totally marry you if that’s something you’re down with.

 Kate: You would?
 Toby: I’d marry the hell out of you, Kate Pearson.” – Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Kate

“Kevin: I wasn’t a very good brother to you, was I?

Randall: No, you weren’t. But you still got time.

Randall: Kevin, mom and dad didn’t raise no whores. Except briefly, during        Kate’s eyeliner phase.

Kevin (laughs): Goodnight, little brother.

Randall: Goodnight, big brother.” – Randall and Kevin

“I like to think that one day, you’ll be an old man like me, talking a young man’s ear off, explainin’ to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.” – Dr. Kotowski (Gerald McRaney)

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